Keeping a debugging journal

Have you ever found yourself trying to debug something that you’ve come across before, but can’t remember how you solved the problem? I know I have many times, so I started a debugging journal.

What is debugging journal?

A debugging journal is just a way of documenting the process you used to fix a bug. It can be in any format. You could start a tumblr, use a wiki, or use an app like Evernote (which is what I do). You could even use a real-life notebook. It’s your choice.

Why would I want to document all the bugs I fix?

By documenting all your bug fixes, you can be sure that next time you come up against that bug, you will have something to refer to if you can’t remember how you fixed it.

Another benefit is that by documenting how you fixed a bug, you ensure you understand how you fixed it. How many times have you moved code around, miraculously fixed a bug, and had no idea how? This way, you’re forced to understand what actually fixed the problem.

How do I make a debugging journal?

As I said above, you can use whatever you feel comfortable with. I use Evernote. I created a new notebook called Debugging Journal, and every time I fix a new bug I start a new note within that notebook which details the problem, the solution, and why it worked.

It’s a simple idea but has the potential to be very effective in saving you time in the future, and helping you to learn too.